WHAT IS COACHING?
No whistles. No clipboards. No barking orders across a court or field. Coaching is a discipline of equipping. In the tradition of ancient rabbis, the desert abbas and ammas and even more contemporary forms of peer training groups, Christian coaches walk alongside.
In recent years coaching has developed as an effective way of equipping others by believing in their God-given giftenness, by empowering them through listening, questioning and focusing. A growing number of those in ministry are discovering how coaching can help them sort through the myriad of responsibilities facing them to focus their time and energies on what they value most..
Working with a coach through questions like those below helps Christians focus their life and ministry and become more effective at their calling. Questions like:
• Given your passions and spiritual gifts, what do you believe God is calling you to do?
• If you knew you would not fail, what direction would you take your ministry?
• Considering your already full schedule, what will you stop doing in order to make space to do what you believe God is calling you to do?
• How will you know 6 months from now that God has been working through you?
Questions like these can bring clarity to life and ministry often beset with chaos and competing agendas. Working with a coach helps one avoid “drift.” Drift happens when the urgent eclipses the important or when the noise drowns-out carefully thought-through intentions. Most of us start with clarity and great intentions but somehow, after weeks or months we find we are no longer focused on our initial goal but have drifted and are now focused on something slightly different. Coaches can help us define our calling, maintain focus, direct our initiatives and help us follow-through more effectively.
COACHING & CHURCH PLANTING
Coaching has become widely accepted among church planting ministries throughout the United States. In what is perhaps the most thorough study of church planting yet, Dr. Ed Stetzer, church planter, author and currently the Director of Lifeway Research and Lifeway's Missiologist in Residence, found a significant correlation between frequent coaching and successful church planting.
Since Mission Alive began, church planters have been encouraged to work with a coach but recently Mission Alive has elevated the place of coaching among our church plants. Today nearly all Mission Alive church planters work with a coach regularly. Their coach helps them think through, work through and pray through the many tasks, large and small, involved in starting a new church. Additionally, coaches join our church planters to celebrate what God is doing through them.
Coaching isn’t just for church planters. Mission Alive’s new ReVision ministry equips leaders of existing churches to guide their churches through missional transformation. Mission Alive’s ReVision ministry walks alongside church leaders as they rethink what the church is to be for the 21st century and as they retool their leadership for the task.
The power of coaching as an equipping tool has proven itself among a number of Mission Alive church planters. After experiencing coaching for themselves, several have imagined how leading through coaching could help them equip members of their church plants “for works of ministry.” Toward that end they are being trained as coaches through Mission Alive’s Coach Training.